Kingsley-Pierson outlasts Remsen St. Mary’s in five-set match
KINGSLEY — Kingsley-Pierson and Remsen St. Mary’s aren’t traditional foes in volleyball as the two schools have met just twice in the last 10 years, both times in regional play. They’ve made the most out of those two appearances, with both extending out to a full five sets. The Panthers won the meeting two years ago and did the same Tuesday as they outlasted the Hawks for the win in the opening round of regionals.
“They all played a fantastic game,” K-P Head Coach Torey Hill said of her team. “They all played well together. Their hits were amazing for most of the night, our sets were really good, our passing was really good.”
After two sets, it was hard to imagine the match going to a full five. The Panthers pulled away for easy wins of 25-14 in each of the first two frames. Hill said it was some of the best volleyball she’s seen her team play.
“We played the best volleyball we’ve played all year in the first two sets,” Hill said. “We were digging up everything. We were covering everything. Then Remsen St. Mary’s, they started digging up everything. They were very, very scrappy and they kept us on our toes and they were hitting hard and we weren’t recovering.”
The Panthers appeared to be well on their way to a sweep in the third, jumping out to a 14-7 lead. That’s when the Hawks finally started clicking.
“The third set, I asked the girls to do one thing,” RSM Head Coach Alex Willman said. “I told them this would be the last time we would ever play together if it ends, so I just wanted them to leave it all out on the court and I believe they did. It was mostly just their energy and their teamwork. That just needed to go hand in hand and when it did, they finally clicked.”
RSM scored the next six points to pull to within one and kept the momentum going, tying the match at 15 on a kill from Lexie Delperdang and taking their latest lead of the match to that point on a block from Carly Ortmann.
RSM got to set point, but stalled out as the Panthers crept back in, using a kill from McKenzie Goodwin, a block at the net and a hit long out of bounds by the Hawks to pull to within one at 24-23 following a timeout. RSM was able to secure the win as the Panthers failed to get the ball over the net on the next point.
After stealing away a set, the Hawks had some momentum on their side and after the two teams traded points through a 6-6 tie, RSM began to pull away for the next seven points with setter Sydney Schroeder serving. Schroeder picked up an ace during the run and ended with 15 assists for the match. The Hawks went on to win the fourth set by a 25-19 score.
The match went to a fifth set, a situation the Hawks hadn’t been in yet this season, but one which the Panthers had found some success in with three wins in all of their previous five-set matches this year.
“We’ve played a lot of five-set matches and then a lot of three-set matches in our tournaments,” Hill said. “Just the endurance of playing the longer games, we’re able to find, if we’re tired, the extra kick that we need and we look past the tired.”
The success for the Panthers in five-set matches continued as they went on to win 15-10. The Hawks had one last surge in them, cutting the deficit from 13-5 with five straight points, but it wasn’t quite enough as Goodwin got the last of her team-best 20 kills and Anna Bubke scored an ace for the final two points.
RSM was led by Delperdang with 10 kills. Ortmann and Brittany Johnson followed with five kills apiece. Johnson led the team with 38 digs and three blocks.
After Goodwin, K-P attackers saw Bubke end with 12 kills, Chloe Peschau add nine and Rachel Bohle finish with seven to go along with three ace serves. The kills were set up by Emy Benson on 23 occasions with Hayden Dunne picking up an additional 15 assists. Libero Abbi Bailey anchored the back row with a season-high 37 digs.
The Hawks finish the season with a 10-19 record. Willman said the future looks bright for the program as the team will graduate just two seniors, Samantha Sauer and Ashley Willman.
“I think they have a tremendous opportunity to go far if they keep working and keep that desire,” Willman said.
Kingsley-Pierson (15-20) advances to the next round where they will play at No. 4 Gehlen Catholic (22-7).
“They are going to be a very tough team,” Hill said. “They’ve got some really hard hitters and they cover the floor very well so the next four practices that we have, we’re going to make sure we fix the areas that we need to work on and we try to get a little more in shape and then we watch game film and we figure out what we can do to try and beat a very good Gehlen team.”